Monday, December 1, 2008

Food Stamp Usage Up

Here's something to think about, after the Thanksgiving festivities. The other night Rachel Maddow on MSNBC (I LOVE her show) said that 1 in 10 Americans use food stamps. I had no idea. There is new government data on hunger in the USA. According to this new data, 11.9 million Americans went hungry last year, including 700,000 children. This is up 50% since the year before. (source: The Washington Post, Nov. 26th)

"We soon will have the most food stamps recipients in the history of our country," said Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center, a D.C.-based anti-hunger policy organization. "If the economic forecasts come true, we're likely to see the most hunger that we've seen since the 1981 recession and maybe since the 1960s, when these programs were established."

Food stamp usage is a good barometer of economic conditions. An increase in food stamps is fueled by rising unemployment and rising food prices.

Food stamps aren't welfare. The program helps lower income people buy nutritious food. Many working people use food stamps to help make ends meet. Obama intends to make this issue a priority next year and increase food stamp benefits as part of the economic stimulus plan.

The food stamp program is now called The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)